Uniate leader has good relationship with pope


RISU, 23 February 2016


The head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Sviatoslav Shevchuk, considers that the path of ecumenical dialogue is important "to liberate religion from politics," because ecumenism is the search for God and not an enemy.


The first hierarch declared this in Rome at a press conference for representatives of various international publications. The press service of the society "Holy Wisdom" reported that the meeting was held in response to the high level of interest of the western press in the topic of Ukraine in light of the Havana declaration and particularly comments of the Holy Father about his relations with the head of the UGKTs.


"Ecumenism is the search for the one God and not a single enemy," he said.


Patriarch Sviatoslav is convinced that there are no grounds to consider the UGKTs an obstacle to ecumenical dialogue: "Our church has witnessed over the course of centuries that unity with the Holy Father not only does not deny eastern identity but it even helps to open up the universal values of the ecumenical church and to go beyond the limits of one's own provinciality and close circle of national affiliation. At the same time, the presence of eastern churches in the large family of the ecumenical church makes it rich and universal."


At the meeting with journalists, the head of the UGKTs emphasized the necessity of practical ecumenism, constructed in dialogue and the joint search for truth and justice.


Explaining the reaction of his faithful to the joint declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, the primate of the UGKTs noted: "For the Ukrainian people, ecumenism is not a theory. The Ukrainian people have always heeded the voice of the Holy Father with great attention, regardless of confessional affiliation, while for us it is also important to be attentive to His Holiness."


Responding to a question "about the friendly relations of the pope and the head of the UGKTs, which are now known to the whole world, that date back to the time of their ministry in Argentina" (after the interview of Pope Francis on board the airplane en route from Mexico to Rome—ed.), Patriarch Sviatoslav confessed: "I was pleasantly touched by the words of the Holy Father regarding his relationship with me. Knowing his sincerity and openness, in my relations with him I wish to be the voice of my flock, of its feelings and even its doubts." (tr. by PDS, posted 24 February 2016)

Related article:
Moscow patriarchate responds to Ukrainian Greek Catholic leader
February 17, 2016

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